A Middle Tennessee freshman who finished five years of active service in the Marines this summer is appealing an NCAA rule preventing him from playing this season because he played in a recreational league in the military.
According to The Daily News Journal, the rule essentially says student-athletes who do not enroll in college within a year of graduating high school will be charged one year of collegiate eligibility for every academic year they participate in organized competition.
By NCAA standards, Steven Rhodes’ play at the Marine base counted as ”organized competition” because there were game officials, team uniforms and the score was kept.
A USA Today report said NCAA spokesperson Stacey Osburn released a statement in reference to Rhodes’ situation Sunday night that said, “The NCAA has provided an initial review of the case and will continue to work with the university. The process is ongoing and a final decision has not yet been made.”
The 6-foot-3, 240-pound Marine sergeant said the recreational league was nothing close to organized.
”Man, it was like intramurals for us,” said the 24-year-old. ”There were guys out there anywhere from 18 to 40-something years old. The games were spread out. We once went six weeks between games.”
Since Rhodes was being paid at the time of his participation in these football games, I’m surprised the NCAA hasn’t called him a professional yet.
Here’s hoping the NCAA quickly sees the error in its initial determination.